Yenagoa—The Chairman of the Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers, His Royal Majesty, King Bubaraye Dakolo – Agada IV and the 2nd Vice President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Chief Nengi James Eriworio have kicked against a reported plan by the Federal Government to scrap the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
NaijaliveTV reported that the two leaders agreed that the PAP has contributed to the unity of Nigeria, and sustained the peace in the Niger Delta region with increased volumes of oil and gas production.
The duo who made this known in separate interviews in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital averred that the programme has assisted the federal government in generating excess revenues of over $300billion from the sales of oil and gas products within the past twelve years.
On his part, King Dakolo, who is also the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for the appointment of the new Interim Administrator, Major General Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd).
He noted that the PAP should be sustained so that the youths of the region will have more opportunities to be trained and empowered to become useful citizens from the region.
His words, “while thanking President Buhari for the appointment of our capable son into the programme at this point in history, we want to call that the Presidential Amnesty Programme be sustained so that the teeming youths in the region who are still suffering from one form of displacement or unemployment are properly trained and empowered for the future of the region.
“These youths will have a reason and an opportunity to be properly trained to become more useful citizens of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large.”
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“Because once these young men are not properly trained or groomed, they are going to be available for all kinds of evil machinations. I think the programme needs to be sustained.
“It has been around for a while, but it is yet to achieve its total objective for which it was established due to external political influence.
“Now that we have a new person on board, the Presidency needs to allow him to steer the ship without politicising the programme, and to enable him to display his capacity at actualizing the Amnesty purpose under President Buhari.”
“Those calling for the scrapping of PAP may not have done a proper appraisal on issues of insecurity and the mismanagement of oil and gas resources from the region.
“If they do, they would have even called for another fresh Presidential Amnesty Programme or asked the Federal Government to increase the funding of the PAP until the youths of the region will not have any reason to be restive.
“Anybody calling for the scrapping of the PAP has not done their homework, and taken account of the national security implications.”
King Dakolo frowned at an alleged attempt by contractors handling construction and supplies at the vandalized Amnesty Training Centre located at Kaima, Bayelsa State to get a court order seeking payment for the job done.
He insisted that the Federal Government and the Amnesty office should seek a security evaluation of what happened during the five (5) days of uninterrupted looting of the ₦60billion Amnesty training complex between the 11th – 15th of February 2019.
Also speaking, Chief Nengi James, who is also the Bayelsa State Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), argued that,
“Despite the challenges of control and misapplication of priorities in terms of training and funding, the PAP should be sustained because the PAP assists thousands of families and youths across the Niger Delta region which produces the majority of the natural resources that have continually sustained the country.”
He stated that the region remains the major source of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings.
“The PAP has also assisted in areas of Manpower development, Entrepreneurial skills among the Niger Delta youths, and in sustaining the peace for oil and gas expatriates to operate freely across the region, ”he said.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to shun the calls for the scrapping of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, maintaining that there should be an increase in funding for the training and empowerment of the youths of the region.
The rights activist expressed concern over the excessive external influence over the Presidential Amnesty Programme, saying,
“There is the need to sustain the Amnesty Programme and allow for proper training and engagement of the youths of the region, there are many youths that are still waiting to be trained.
“Some are even in court seeking to be included in the Presidential Amnesty programme, while millions of youths across the region are eagerly expressing their desires to be included in the Amnesty Programme.”
“Therefore it is in the interest of the federal government to sustain this affordable peace, instead of scrapping this cost-effective peace for an unknown alternative that might cost ten to twenty times more.”
Bayelsa community gives FG, state govt 2-day ultimatum over devastating erosion
Yenagoa—The people of Obogoro Community in Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have given the Federal and State Governments a 2-day ultimatum to address the devastating effect of erosion which has claimed many lives and properties or face any action that would be taken by the community.
The Tide reports that they made this known during a candlelight procession held in Obogoro for men, women, youths and children who have lost their lives due to the recurring erosion in the community.
The Convener of Save Obogoro Community From Erosion Foundation, Coach Ada Gwegwe, said the community has written several letters to both the Federal and State Governments to respond to the community’s demand but all to no avail, adding that the community is planning to stage a protest to drive home their demands.
“We have been crying and nobody wants to listen to us. They came and awarded the contract and started the work but the dredger is just packed there, nothing is going on.
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“We have done everything to reach out to the government but to no avail, this is the last option we have, to go on peaceful protest”, he said.
Also speaking, the Coordinator of the Save Obogoro Community From Erosion Foundation, Comrade Sunkeme Gbegbe, sympathized with those affected by the erosion and attributed the state of the community to that of a dead meat.
“Erosion has taken so many lives, we are also sympathising with those that are homeless. We have called on the government and the federal level and other relevant agencies, we’ve written so many letters but all to no avail”, Gbegbe said.
Some residents of the community cried out to the government that so many lives have been lost and many rendered homeless due to houses being washed away by the effect of the erosion.
“We gather together with grief in our hearts on what is happening in our community: the houses that are collapsing, the people dying, we are pained, we plead with the government to help us because we are losing our houses and lands”.
2022 Flooding: Bayelsa govt directs fresh distribution of items to communities, acknowledges donors
Yenagoa—Bayelsa State government has acknowledged donations from international agencies, state governments, political parties and their presidential candidates, individuals and corporate organisations in the wake of the 2022 flooding that ravaged the state.
Governor Douye Diri in his opening remarks at the weekly state executive council meeting in Government House, Yenagoa, on Wednesday disclosed that the government received donations in form of cash, foodstuff and other materials from well-meaningful individuals and corporate organisations during and after the floods.
According to a statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Daniel Alabrah, Diri restated his administration’s commitment to transparency and assured the people that they would not be left in the dark as regards the flood donations.
He listed the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, the Akwa Ibom and Lagos state governments, which donated N100m and N50m respectively, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar (N55m), and his counterpart in the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Adewole Adebayo (N10m) as some of the donors.
Other donors are Dr. Azibapu Eruani of the Azikel Group, who he said has started redeeming his pledge of N350million worth of items, and the Chief Executive Officer of the Century Energy Group, Chief Ken Etete (N50m).
The governor also disclosed that the South Korean Ambassador to Nigeria donated $100,000, Access Bank N100m, Zenith Bank N20m, Linkage Assurance N20m, Sterling Oil N15m, Paache Construction N10m and AITEO N50m.
According to Diri, organisations that donated items include the Tompolo Foundation 440 cartons of noodles, 595 bags of 50kg rice, 35 jerrycans of 25kg palm oil, groundnut oil 180 cartons, garri 40 50kg bags, beans 20 100kg bags as well as 500 tubers of yam.
Others are Globus Bank 70 bags of 50kg rice and 100 cartons of noodles, Stanbic Bank 146 4×6’ mattresses, 148 pillows and 150 plastic buckets.
The rest are Julius Berger 100 bags of 50kg rice, Redeemed Christian Church of God 100 bags of 50kg rice, Brass Petrochemical and Fertiliser Company 100 bags of 50kg rice, 100 bags of 50kg garri and 100 bags of 100kg beans.
Diri directed the task force on flood mitigation and management and the Bayelsa State Emergency Management Agency (BYSEMA) to immediately resume distribution of items in the warehouse to all affected communities in the state.
He also assured that the donations will be prudently used and urged people of the state to exercise patience with the process of distributing the relief materials to victims.
He further stated that the process will be devoid of political colouration.
His words: “We never played politics with the flood and the relief items for victims. The whole world saw it. Those who came to play politics, the whole world equally saw them.
“In all that we did, we never discriminated against any political party. And we commend particularly our people that bore the brunt of the flood.
“As a government, we will take decisions in the best interest of our people. Everything should not be politicised.“
2023: Diri tasks Bayelsans to shun political blackmail
Yenagoa—Governor of Bayelsa State, Senator Douye Diri, has cautioned political actors to desist from character assassination and blackmail in their quest for power in the state.
Diri said it was appalling how some politicians in the state have resorted to maligning the character of opposition party contestants and members in the guise of political campaigns.
The governor spoke on Tuesday evening during the service of songs in honour of late Mama Bebeapere Agbedi, mother of the member representing Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Dr. Fred Agbedi, at the Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha Memorial Banquet Hall in Yenagoa.
A statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as saying that elections would come and go but the people would remain brothers and sisters.
He stressed that the best path to living a long and fulfilled life was showing love and appreciation for one another.
Diri emphasised that as long as power comes only from God, nobody can overturn what has been divinely ordained for the state.
He said: “Political times are here and there is so much in the air – propaganda, lies and blackmails. You do not know which one to believe anymore. That was not the kind of life Mama lived.
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“The fact you want a political office should not make you to malign the character of another person. Elections will come and go, as I always say, but we will all remain brothers and sisters.
“For me, the best path to tread and the best way towards living the kind of life that we are celebrating today is to continue to show love and appreciation. No matter who is blocking it, when God says this is yours, nobody can stop it.”
While extolling the virtues of the matriarch, who lived 111 years, Diri described her as a quintessential woman, who made a lot of sacrifice for mankind.
In a sermon titled: “A Good Name,” Bishop Dotimi Egbegi said for one to be spoken well of after death, the individual must have a good name while alive.
Bishop Egbegi noted that people can only amend their ways while alive and by living for others in order to bequeath legacies that cannot be altered.
Giving a testimony about his mother, Dr. Agbedi she instilled discipline in him and his siblings as well as investing meaningfully in their educational advancements.
The House of Reps member described his late mother as a principled but humble woman, a trait that he said is also found in him.
He thanked the governor for demonstrating love and support towards him and his family by his presence at the event to honour their matriarch.
Also present at the solemn gathering was the Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, past and serving members and colleagues of the chief mourner from the National Assembly, state legislators, chairman of the state Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Solomon Agwana, members of the state executive council, politicians from different political parties as well as top government functionaries and members of the clergy.